Catharsis – Time, Place, and Light.

The Fence Line, Paradise Valley, Montana.
The Fence Line, Paradise Valley, Montana.

This was the end of a string of bad days for me, created by a burglary of close to 5 digit proportions. I had just picked up the last shipment of components to replace nearly my entire solar power system.

Driving south about 10 miles out of Livingston a short-lived summer storm was moving through late in the day. The upslope alfalfa fields were being harvested, the downslope fields were fallow in stubble. Behind was a lonely apple tree with green and red fruit managing on the far side of the road. What little light was making it through the clouds was moving across the landscape and softly lit the small hill in the middle ground. I almost kept driving, anxious to get the batteries and controller installed.

But the light turned me, my mind cleared and things began to click. I stopped and worked the scene for about 5 minutes until all of the charm was enveloped by the progression of the elements.

The image was processed twice in LR/PS. The initial work was not quite what I wished for. I couldn’t get the accents to come out of the fore and mid ground areas, and the fore ground fence posts were either too light, too dark, or lacking contrast.

I recently started working with a tool allowing me to create highly targeted luminance masks. I applied this to the areas I was unhappy with and was able to bring the image up to what I had pre-visualized. I attempt to use everything in the frame, but this subject really needed cropping from the top. I had a thought that the odd jogging lines and the opening in the fence on the left would make for an awkward image. Moving to the right a couple of steps helped the diagonal. It also transformed the opening at the left, balancing it with the sloping horizontal fence rail on the right. All in all, a good composition.

Mentally lighter, I moved on to my camp and installed the new solar power system by the light of a flash light with only a single LED. I went through 2 ½ sets of AA’s before I was able to power up the overhead light – about half past one in the morning. Finally allowing myself the bed, I lay there realizing 5 minutes of good light and scenery are cathartic, elevating 10 days of crappy attitude and gloom.